The WHO technical director for COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said today that not only are serious cases and deaths from COVID-19 in the world of concern, but also the side effects of the disease in patients who already they have overcome it.
“We are not only concerned with cases, hospitalizations or deaths, but with the long-term impacts that we are beginning to see in individuals who even suffered from the disease with mild symptoms,” Van Kerkhove said at a press conference.
“We are only now beginning to see these effects on the heart, brain, lungs or mental health,” added the expert to explain why it is still important to combat the increase in infections despite the fact that the mortality of the coronavirus is now relatively low, of only one 0.6 percent of the cases.
Europe currently has three times more daily infections than in the months of March and April but four times fewer deaths, which according to the American expert is the result of “more tests are done, it is better tracked and less serious cases are found earlier” .
Another reason, he explained, is the fact that the virus has changed the age pattern of the people it affects, now that the youngest are socializing more, while it has been possible to prevent outbreaks in facilities such as nursing homes, where there was a high mortality in the first months of the pandemic.
While cases are rising rapidly in Europe, they seem to be falling slowly in America, although the WHO Director of Health Emergencies, Mike Ryan, stressed at the same press conference that “there is a downward trend, but the numbers are still very high in Brazil and other countries in the region “.
He added that the decline “does not mean that the numbers can rebound, as has been seen in other regions, sometimes at an extremely fast pace.
The WHO experts were also asked about a recent study by Australian scientists showing that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can last up to 28 days on banknotes and other objects.
“What is extracted from it is that hand hygiene is still essential,” Ryan commented on the matter, recalling that “soap and water are one of the most effective health interventions at the time of getting rid of all kinds of bacteria” .
Asked about the attitude of US President Donald Trump, who despite having tested positive for COVID-19 has quickly rejoined the electoral campaign, the experts preferred not to comment on individual cases but referred to the advice given by the national health services.
The United States health network, they recalled, recommends isolating yourself from other people in the 10 days after the first symptoms appear, and waiting for 24 hours to pass without fever before being with others.